“At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost….” That’s the opinion of Dori Bernstein, the parent of a Blue Mountain (Pennsylvania) School District student. And how creative did Blue Mountain administrators get in providing protection for their charges?
“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel, testifying to the House Education Committee last week in Harrisburg.
It’s good to see student safety taken seriously. After the serial failures of school administrators and local law enforcement that resulted in the Parkland massacre, with students left to fend for themselves as the local resource officer waited outside listening to the carnage unfold, the Blue Mountain powers that be don’t wan’t to leave defenseless students at the mercy of a killer with nothing but their…pencils in their hands.
The superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District was explaining his unconventional form of protecting the students in their schools in the event of an active shooter situation: give them rocks.
“At one time I just had the idea of river stone, they`re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract,” said Helsel.
And distracting an active shooter could possibly delay him long enough for local law enforcement to reach the scene and engage the shooter. If, that is, they choose to do so.
But not everyone thinks this is a practical line of defense.
“I think that’s rather comical,” said one college student in Schuylkill Haven.
“It’s absurd, arm the teachers,” said a parent in Schuylkill Haven.
Now there’s a thought. If only there were some kind of small, easily carried kinetic device that responsible teachers could be trained to use and entrusted with that might be even more effective in stopping an attacker at a distance than tossing river stones. If only.
But if you think that Superintendent Helsel’s idea is dumber than a bucket of rocks, he’s not relying completely on his students’ throwing skills to keep them safe.
Helsel says the district has no plans to arm teachers, however, Blue Mountain does have a maintenance employee who is trained and certified to work as school security and is armed.
And the district plans to have more support staff get the same training to act a security.